Kushner 'discussed secret line to Moscow' - US media reports
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 27, 2017,
May 27, 2017, 23:47
The president's son-in-law and senior adviser inquired about using Russian diplomatic facilities for the communications, apparently to shield the talks, US officials briefed on intelligence reports told The Washington Post.
Less than two weeks later, Kushner backed off the idea of the communications channel when Trump announced Rex Tillerson, a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil who had worked closely with Russian officials on energy deals, as his choice to become secretary of state.
When The Washington Post broke an explosive report in which intelligence officials alleged that Trump shared highly-classified information with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting, McMaster went in front of cameras to call the story false as reported and to defend the president's actions as "wholly appropriate".
The FBI is now investigating the probable meddling by Russia in the 2016 USA election and links between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian officials seeking to influence the election.
Defence attorneys and former FBI agents say that one likely area of interest for investigators would be Kushner's own meetings with Russians, given that such encounters with a variety of Trump associates are at the root of the sprawling probe, now overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
NBC News earlier reported Mr Kushner was under scrutiny by the FBI, in the first sign the investigation, which began last July, had reached the President's inner circle. This report adds to the growing number of questions he might have to face when he gets back.
The sources stress that the talk between Kushner and the Russian envoy about communications was focused on the USA response to the crisis in Syria and other policy-related matters.
"(There's) a sense that if there's damning information out there it's going to come out one way or another - someone leaks it to the (New York) Times, or the president just blurts it out in an interview", said one White House staffer.
This source says both Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump wanted Flynn in as national security adviser.
The Post's anonymous sources said that Kislyak was even taken aback by the suggestion. Kushner initially failed to declare the meetings on forms to obtain a security clearance to serve in the White House.
News media report that the FBI is investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russian officials.
In what has become an nearly traditional Friday evening news dump, there are two absolutely bombshell reports about the Trump campaign and Russian Federation that takes what is already a huge story to a whole new level. However, Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and Trump has said he has not collaborated with Russian Federation. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry".
Evan McMullin, an independent candidate in the 2016 presidential race, said the report raised the stakes for Mr Kushner.
In the days after the meeting with Mr. Kislyak, Mr. Kushner had a separate meeting with Sergey N. Gorkov, a Russian banker with close ties to Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin.
The FBI focus on Flynn also touches on Kushner because he led the presidential transition's foreign policy efforts. "He has no recollection of the calls as described", Kushner's lawyer Jamie Gorelick told POLITICO in a statement.